I once got paid to down small shot glasses of Alfredo sauce. Yes I did. Lip quenchingly cheesy. I was also once paid to look at shimmery raw chicken, poke it, and see if I could sense the “air-chilled” difference. And lastly, and most hilariously, I was once paid to give my opinions on feminine napkin commercials and make suggestions for morning radio shows. Not together. Although…morning radio is decidedly too bereft of feminine napkin chatter. Not. This is alllllll because I was part of a revolving door of “average people”, paid to shuffle into a dingy office building about 40 miles from my house, and awarded the omniscient-being power to make decisions that would affect your very lives. <----Echo. The point is, that all across this great nation, there are people just like me, with views you may or may not share, making huge decisions you will have to live with forever. Like in tonight’s show, where a group of angry drones is responsible for the make-up of the final five. The bad news: a non-beloved advances into the final five. The good news: now, in my area, you can hear a LOT more Wang Chung on the radio. We are Wang Chunging our brains out. (Yes, you now have my permission to change musical group names into verbs. Wang Chunging, Hoobastanking, and Blowfishing come to mind.) Who is this non-beloved to whom I refer? Let us find out!
First up, Gary arrives back again...with little rolling suitcase...again. He has become the show's Weeble, springing back a second time with none of the joy of the first time, saying he took no pleasure in beating Jay London. Everyone cheers when he waltzes back in the door, and Tammy actually gives him a big hug. She has never been a big Gary fan, so I assume she's sizing him up, gaging how arduous it will be to hoist a 6 foot 7 man into the trunk of a Camaro. I have news…...it’s prettttty tricky.
Gary tells us that making it to the final six is so close, it’s knocking at his door, offering pizza, and calling to him with it's doughy crust. He doesn’t compare success to pizza, but I compare it to pizza. Would it be harder or easier to make it this far and then lose? He has no idea. Corey congratulates him on being the first one to beat someone twice, but Gary tells the housemates he doesn’t feel good at all about beating Jay. Tammy taunts that he didn’t feel badly about beating Ant, and Gary comes back with, “but Jay never warned me I had three more days in the house.” Touché, my little Tammy. Touché.
God Bless Reality TV crossover, and the humor therein
Jay Mohr assembles them in the challenge readin’ room, and I only point that out, because I do believe it’s different than the Romancing the Bone room. (Renamed recently from the Forest Pump room, because I needed to switch things up to keep it spicy!! Keepin’ it real, my shizzles!! You are not actually shizzles, but I enjoy my "sh" sounds and.....I move my lips when I type. And when I read. And when I play my Romancing the Bone CD, because man, no matter how hard I try, I can’t sing like a xylophone.) But anyhow, Jay comes back to let them know…*dun..dun..dun….* (<----cue music that isn’t there)….they’re on a reality show, and hence, there are many ‘o surprises on the yellow brick road ahead. And as none of them are Dorothy’s, they can’t click their heals and be gone. They must brace their braids and endure.
So Jay heads to the door, and we’re all expecting the comics, as NBC has already destroyed any chance at surprise by revealing to us exactly what’s ahead. As the hinge squeals, we expect to see Bonnie’s head come waltzing through, independent of her body, followed by Todd’s, and Ant’s, etc. etc. But what do we see instead? The door opens, Jay smirks, and says, “come on in guys.” *Cue sudden disco beat* In walks ………..three stud horses from Average Joe, Hawaii!! All clad in speedos, and grinning stupidly. I literally yell out, “Oh my GOD!” because I am just that lame and interactive with my television viewing. The first one through the door is that a-hole. If you didn’t watch the show, you’ll just have to trust me. I’m sure he’d prove it to you, but he’s not allowed to speak yet.
All the housemates look freaked, the speedos are tightly clutched around the AJ’s man berries, (which, of course they were, have you ever heard of a baggy speedo?) and Tammy laughs. She laughs the laugh of someone who will never have to wear a speedo. She tells us she didn’t need to see the men and their little bean bags. The rest of the house reacts equally unpleasantly. Kathleen looks like she’s just eaten bad shrimp, and Gary says he watched Average Joe (he’s admitting it?? ha!) and says these guys weren’t too bright. Corey says none of these dudes are rooming with him, and covers himself with a pillow. Ahh… pillows: the impenetrable shield.
Is this for real? Is this actually happening? Surely, Jay, you jest. Jay does, and immediately relieves the comics by turning to the AJ’s and saying, “oh wait you guys, Average Joe is the next castle over.” The comics laugh and sputter merrily at being Punk’d without the benefit of Ashton.
But the surprises are not over. Jay does indeed have another surprise, and he opens the door to what we’ve finally been expecting: the ousted housemates. The reactions in the house are mixed: everything from deep regret..... all the way over to deep remorse. Gary and John look horrified, while John says his horrible past has just come back to him in a horrible green mist *cue NBC flashing slo mo footage of the comics' entrance, covered in green mist* The only bliss is had when Gary sees Todd for the first time, and runs at him like a loyal puppy, hugging him in a warm and happy puppy kind of way. A happy puppy who is potty trained, but also looks as if he’s ready to lift leg in excitement. He tells us he lit up like a Christmas tree. Ant, on the other hand, is more smug than gleeful, and says the look of shock on everyone’s faces was like a Mastercard priceless moment. Todd shakes Corey’s cheeks, and Jay looks deflated, probably because he just left the house two hours ago.
Jay says the whole point in bringing back the comics is to help them all vote in the final head to head. Ohhh yes. Ohhh no…say the faces of the comics in the hizzouse. Especially Tammy, who looks horrified. Ant, however, springs up from the couch in a very dramatic way and says that someone made a promise that they weren’t going to vote for him, and that person’s gonna PAY!! *lightning does not flash, but angst is felt* I find this amusing, as since this is not really Survivor, in many ways, Ant is responsible for getting himself voted off the isla...er...castle.
Ant storms upstairs with childlike poutiness akin to my niece's tantrum over losing her Hello Kitty cassette radio. John sees the tantrum, and tells us he knows Ant's referring to him. Todd asks him if it's true, and John says no. He never promised Ant a dang thing. Ant disagrees, however, and we see him adamantly telling Tammy and Kathleen that John's a bad little man. Whatevah. Bonnie floats through the room and quips, "Ant told me all about your alliance.” Ant lies and says he didn’t, while Tammy is only concerned with how this new voting twist does not bode well for her.
Up next to me is one of the most horrifying scenes of this show EVER. I don’t know if you’ll all be able to stomach it. My heart breaks, it ruptures in two, it gets smashed, as we see John cry out, “ha ha freakin’ funny, we’re all back in the house." The next thing he does...is just....too painful to mention. He........he…picks up the yard gnome........and tosses him into the pool!! *muffled cry* Oh why? What has that gnome ever done to you, John, but stand there and make your days merry? We close in on a shot of the beaten gnome, bobbing face down in the water, sadly and cutely, it’s little gnome arm outstretched, as if to say, “save me.” No one does. Bastards.
Self-important Humorless Drones
It is el dia del challengello and Ant tells us that all the comedians are shakin’ in their boots, while we flash to them standing outside, completely calm, enjoying the warm sunshine. Ant says it’s joyous to feel no pressure, and Jay and Todd are inside, unpressurized and enjoying the castle again.
Time’s up for someone to seek the knowledge of the plastic gypsy. Will the clue be better than last week? Or shall we steel ourselves for “this is Helvetica 12 pt.” again? Tammy gets the gypsy love, and the card speaketh: "But does it play in Peoria?"
Jay sits them down in the non-porn room, and says that this is the most important challenge yet, because the winner of immunity guarantees themselves a final spot in the final five. What’s the challenge? All the comics are to pitch a sitcom starring themselves to a focus group. They all get two hours to prepare their hard sell, and he tells them they’re going to want to win immunity.<---understatement.
The reactions are mixed as we see footage of the comics working on material, footage of them filming their individual pitches, and footage of the sad gnome bobbing in the water. Okay, not really, but if I don’t remember, who will? WHO WILL? Never forget! Viva la gnome!
This next scene is something I would normally gloss over, but it’s extremely minor importance in what lies ahead causes me to pay minimal attention to it. Gary hops off the bus in Focus Group Land, and says that he’s completely at ease about the upcoming challenge. He’d normally be frightened, but now? Pffft. Piece…of…easy-bake-oven-cake. Nothing's easier than confections cooked with light. Anyhow, after being torn into bits at the friar’s roast (flash to footage of him getting roasty at the roast), he says there’s nothing anyone can say that will hurt him. Sticks and stones may break his bones, but middle-america can stick it, as far as he’s concerned.
We get our first warning of what’s to come when we flash on the “perfect” demographic sampling of the focus group, i.e. six people with angry faces, who all look 31 to me. Apparently 31 is the TV viewing year. I flash back to memories of myself purchasing yet another VCR on my 31st birthday, and hang my head, ashamed.
Up next, the comics watch the evil, unpleasant focus group from behind a one way mirror. Each comic gets few compliments, and most are skewered with long, pointy sticks.
The Shish-Kebabbing of the Comics
Up next are all the pitches. I will rifle through them as quickly and painlessly as possible, which might be better than actually watching the pilots.
Corey’s up first. His pitch: Urban Al Bundy moves in with the wife and kids of Frasier. Their world’s collide, mayhem ensues.
Reactions: Everyone seems to like him and most think he sounds like an average guy with average problems. One observant little fellow points out Corey’s TV past, and says he’s humble.
The Kick in the groin: A long, red-haired woman says he seems like a side-kick character, and another ponytail clad female says she didn’t like him the second she saw him. The focus group laughs, and Corey puts his head in his hands.
Kathleen: Her pitch is to play someone like herself, an entertainer tired of the road who sees an ad in the paper for an MC/host of an Ozark/Opry style Branson show. They hire her, and craziness ensues. All through her pitch, Kathleen hides her head in her hands.
Reactions: One of the guys says it’s a really unique idea, another calls her funny and says the premise is something he can relate to. Yada yada let's move on.
The Kick in the groin: We get our first close up of the angry woman who looks pissed alll..the…time. She whines that she was incredibly bored by the pitch, and doesn't like shows about shows. Whine, whimper, wahh. Kathleen tells us she thinks the focus group peeps think their job is to tear apart every idea, especially the angry lady (flash to four shots of angry woman's face in various stages of disgust, concluding with a very, plastic-y smile.)
Alonzo: He’s a recovering middle class suburban drug addict, fresh out of jail, who’s tough at Starbuck’s but not in prison.
Reactions: At first, people give Alonzo some courtesy laughter. Ha! Unfortunately, this is the only good thing that comes for Alonzo, as up next we see…
Gah-gah-gah-Groin injury *to be said with Ted Danson’s voice* : Red-haired lady says, yo, it sounds forced and she hates it. Angry woman says the idea just plain isn’t funny, and another man says Alonzo just plained pushed the envelope too far and found it offensive. We finish with Alonzo shaking his head and saying, “aaahh..shut up”.
Gary: He plays a pediatrician who has to move back in with momma to pay medical bills. That…is…it.
There are only groin injuries here and no positive reactions: The same girl who hated Corey off the bat also hates the way Gary looks. (what?) She finishes her one-two punch by saying he wasn’t engaging either, and he’s incredibly unlikeable. Gary’s stunned and says that even serial killers are likeable. All the rest of the peeps call him generic and one last person says he rambled too much. Oh, and red-haired girl says he’s boring too. Gary reacts by freaking out in hidden camera land, thrusting his man-meat at the unknowing focus group, and fist fighting the air. Kathleen comments on his upsetedness while NBC flashes of Gary saying earlier, “there’s nothing” rewind “nothing” rewind “nothing that anyone can say here that will hurt me at all.” Gary lied. And makes one more giblet thrust at the unsuspecting focus group.
Tammy: Pre-pitchiness, she understates, “those people are tough.” Why yes, yes they are. So far they have skewered all and roasted them in a nice, marshmallowy fashion. Will Tammy be skewered? Will she? Let us find out! Her pitch: she immediately let’s loose with her funny-the-first-time joke about Sicilian’s not all being in the mob…some of them being in the witness protection program. You all say it with me now: badump bump. It seems forced on screen, and the focus group blankly stares. Oh, her idea. Okay, here it is: the show will be titled the God Daughter and it’s a Soprano’s meets Mama’s family type show. She finishes with the tag line, “with a family like mine, who needs enemies?”
Reactions and some figurative groin kicks (and I apologize right now for continuously discussing groin kicks, but I’m on a roll, and well, you’re really kind of stuck with this theme now. Sorry. Kind of.): The really, really, angry chick says it’s totally been done before, which is echoed by red-haired girl who picks apart Tammy’s joke, saying her show contradicts her statement, i.e. all Sicilian’s ARE in the mob. Some little man in the corner who has only suddenly shimmered into existence in a white cloud of mist, suddenly says she’s very cute. This is all we’ve heard of him. He is the Tammy-love Fairy. Echoing the love fairy is the other little oft quoted male who says she’s sexy and he’d watch it just to see her. Dude is hard up for sexy, as mob shows are not where you go to get your sex action. At least it’s not where I go to get my sex action. All the time anyway. Anyhow, someone needs to point him towards live females, yet no one does.
John Heffron is the last sheep to the slaughter and presents his vague, non-idea to the group. While the focus group watches the pitch for the show titled, “The State I’m In,” he grips his head in his hands (popular body language for the day) and rocks back and forth in a semi-fetal position. John tells us it’s a waste of tape, time, and camera people while we watch the video-John explain the show: It’s about a couple staying together when everything is pulling against them, and yada yada something vague about long distance love.
Groin Kicks and some love: The little lover of sex via mafia says he doesn’t even get what the show is about, and he’s already rooting for the couple’s demise. Angry chick number one says it gets old fast, whereas red-haired lady says that the title is cute and he’s cute, and ponytail girl, who has up to now hated every male on first sight, says she likes the idea because you could have three whole worlds going on at once. I want them to be “other” worlds, and THEN you have a show. I.e. John and his long distance lover from Zorcon. Or John and his long distance lover from beyond the grave. John thinks pony tail girl’s ideas are good, and wishes he’d said them.
After all the comics have been successfully skewered, Jay pops back into their mirror room to reveal the results. The winner automatically makes it to the final five, and all are anxious.
With an average score of 48.0, Alonzo Boden comes in last place.
With a score of 50.8, Corey Holcomb is next to last.
At 59.4 is Gary Gulman.
At 61.7…is…John Heffron!
Tammy and Kathleen are the last two spots, and the scores are tightly squeezed together. One of them has 63.4, the other has 65.3. And the winner is……………Tammy! Nooooo! <---I cry at the screen. Dangit!! Tammy makes the sign of the cross and says it’s all she ever wanted. So the extra sexy points unfortunately pushed her over the edge. Curse that little focus group man and his lack of female companionship.
When the Banned Bond
I just would like to take a minute here to apologize for something I’m about to do, yet will do anyway. I’m going to gloss over commentary that’s obvious. Yes. When John says, “immunity is huge,” and Tammy says, “the other comics are holding grudges,” or Corey pontificates, “it’s about to go down,” I shall gloss. Gloss it up like an enamel nail polish.
So here we go. Back at the mansion all the comics eat dinner together. I have no idea what they’re eating, but they all talk with their mouths stuffed. Bonnie chews and says, “so Tammy you won..” and I’m only including this because this is one small Bonnie role in the show, signifying her surprise at her arch enemy’s immunity status. No she doesn’t get to finish the sentence. Instead, Todd cuts her off and tells Tammy there are flowers for her in the (foyer? Who the heck knows in this castle, I'm not sure it even has a foyer, but I'm guessing it does have a bat cave). Tammy sees the pretty foliage and reads the note attached, written in magic marker scrawl, “Congratulations Tammy, you deserve immunity, you great person you, love Todd and Bonnie.” Tammy is convinced they had no idea who’d win, and would have given the flowers to anyone.
All kinds of hullabaloo happens at the house during pre-vote time. John is convinced he’ll be sent up to the river, and Todd tells him to use his "A set" material, signifying he needs to step it up a notch. Todd laughs maniacally, and John heads upstairs. Todd cries sarcastically, “Come on, it’s just a game, don’t get upset!” The nearby Bonnie pipes up in agreement, and then tears off her jacket, bends backwards in a very limbo way, and laughs maniacally. Bonnie ends up flying through the room, shaking plastic wall partitions and humping statues while Todd does the can can. And does it well. Really, really, well, .....and without fishnet stockings. At least not that I can see.
Vote time descends quickly, and Jay assembles them all in the Skin-dependence Day room (yes...I changed it again.) It is the night of the last head to head vote, and all ten comics will send one of the five remaining comics to the final head to head. The only person not up for grabs is Tammy.
The votes are:
Tammy: Corey (but first fakes us out by saying Gary..and changes her mind)
Alonzo: John Heffron
Corey: John Heffron
Gary: Kathleen Madigan
John :Kathleen Madigan
Ant: John Heffron (and reminds us yet again that he is not the ring leader of the evil alliance)
Todd: Alonzo (delivers this drenched in fake sweat)
The vote is in...and it's....John Heffron!! I’m a bit giddy as I’m anxious to see his stand-up act again. John can only vote for Corey or Alonzo as his opponent, and he immediately chooses a smiling Corey, saying that it’s time to see him on stage. Ant jumps up and down and cries, “yes, yes, yes!”
Oh but the fun does not stop, my peeps. Jay tells them there is a twist. No!! On a reality show? A twist? Yes. And it seems so untwisty because of the constant supply of them. Tonight, the head to head is going to be…a three way!! And he doesn’t mean that in a sexual way. This time. (But the FCC of 2045 says...yes.) The eight comics not already in the head to head, (basically everyone but John and Corey) must now vote for a third comic. They can only vote for Kathleen, Alonzo or Gary.
Ant: He does a fake out and says, “Gary….I’m sorry. *pause* I want to see Alonzo in the head to head.”
Five votes for Alonzo means the ex crack addict goes up tonight against John and Corey. Jay congratulates Kathleen, Tammy, and Gary for automatically making it to the final five. All are thrilled, Gary says it’s been grueling, and Kathleen says she’s going to live the rest of her life in reality shows.
As they pack, all three state that this is a great challenge, and full-up with the three heavyweights of the house. Alonzo says, "It’s pressure time, and somebody once told me that pressure turns coal into diamonds." Well shall see if he does indeed shine, shine like a crazy diamond.
Bird Killing, Man Whores, and Sibling Rivalry
At the last comic theater, Jay Mohr pops out again with his usual stand-up opener. He does bits about how hard it is to hit a bird. You could drive a Cadillac through a chicken coup and not hit anybody, yet he managed to hit one. Right in the middle of a religious discussion with a friend about God’s existence. Yada yada, all laugh, chortles are many. And yes, I’m summarizing. This recap is almost entirely made up of summaries. It is the way. The way of the warrior.
Backstage, Corey says everything is real now, he knows what he’s capable of doing and he has to come through. He can’t let the peeps down who are counting on him. Obvious point #33 for the night.
Corey gets on stage and let’s loose with a chauvenistic act, full of conditional love for the laydays. He does bits about being a “great” boyfriend, emphasis (by me) on the sarcastic quote marks. He jokes about the secret life of men, about being the bad guy, and about how he's the type that would break up with a woman and move across the street from her with a chick she doesn't like. Ladies...he..is...SINGLE! He also wants to be told if he's sexy, so he can call and let his other chick know he can't make it. Then he moves on to scorch women with short hair. “Short haircuts look nice on some of you, but you ladies with the big forehead, if it looks like an Expedition windshield, you might want a bang.” He closes with a plea to the ladies to stay in school, so that they can support his video game habit, and tells the peeps he’s taking acting classes so that he can lie more easily, “of course you’re the only woman in my life.” Many laugh, but it is not an all encompassing, theater-busting laughter.
Backstage for Alonzo, he says he has to get to the finals. Obvious point #34 for the night. He’s not holding anything back, and he’s leaving everything on stage.
Alonzo: He jokes about how cash is the true viagra for women. He jokes about the difference between the sexes when it comes to the dating world, and how a woman can have a great time without cash, but if a man goes out cashless, “he’ll be a lonely son of a bitch." He jokes that cleavage is currency and is jealous that there's no male equivalent, “can you imagine if you could show a part of your penis and get a free drink?” He wants to get into gay shape, because gay men are the most ripped people on the planet. He doesn’t know how strong you have to be to bleep a guy, but obviously there’s some muscle involved. More repeats of white women/white male breeding jokes, and talks about how women friends are useless, “it’s like looking at your ATM card and having 19 dollars in the bank.” He finishes with a bit about how men can’t communicate, and that women ask stupid questions like, “do you remember?” His answer? “No, ladies, we invented instant replay because we forgot sh*t we JUST SAW.”
Backstage for John, he makes obvious point #35, by stating that the alliances don’t matter anymore, and it’s time to make random people he’s never met before laugh.
He pops out on stage and immediately asks the audience to participate. If you grew up a big brother or sis, clap, if you grew up baby, clap. He says he’d ask the middle kid, but no one cared about you. He grew up the oldest and feels sorry for the youngest, because of their extreme flinchyness. No matter how big you get to be, you still walk around like, “whoah..don’t touch me” and he mimes jerking backwards on stage, much to the delight of a laughing audience. He jokes that parents try and buy safe toys for their children, but fail, as any toy can be turned into a weapon. Case in point, a nerf ball. Which he promptly soaked in water and froze. And then launched at his sibling. He finishes with bits about using Christmas paper wrapping tube as a weapon, and how if you mess with the dog, he’ll get back at you by barking when you try and sneak back in the house undetected. The audience goes wild.
Ahhh..we are here!! The fianals!! Who will win? Who did the audience choose? The first person, with 55 percent of the vote, moving onto the final five is………………Alonzo Boden!! Alonzo says it’s great to make the final five, but wants to focus on being the final one. Somewhere, in the distance, I hear Sean Connery, “there can be only one.” Alonzo does not hear this, so he continues on, unfrightened, and giddy. Well maybe not giddy. I don’t think Alonzo’s the “giddy” type.
Corey and John wait in nervous, jittery anticipation, shaking like schoolgirls on scoliosis screening day. Who will be the last to make it? Who will be in the final five? The audience gives 38 percent of the vote to……….John Heffron!! Yayyy!! <-----I actually say that out loud. Corey looks dejected, and I can’t help but feel (really) minorly sorry for his sad-puppy, chauvinistic head. He thought he put on a good show, and is completely shocked he didn’t make it. It hurts like a mo fo.
Next week: Two new episodes. Wait…what? Two new episodes? On Tuesday, the ousted comics get a chance to play in the wild card round where we, the powerful home viewers, will select another "chosen one” with our God-like powers. On Thursday, we'll see a results show punctuated by filler. Check here next week for two, probably very punchy, recaps.
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